Perhaps more than any tale that comes to mind, A Christmas Carol is the quintessential Christmas story, making the case that each moment counts—and not just so that we may avoid attracting scary ghosts to our bed chamber. This classic Charles Dickens novella is a fable wrapped in joyous trappings that bring the essence of the holiday season. Attleboro Community Theatre (ACT) presents this sensational tale, directed by Tammy England, about how a cruel Ebenezer Scrooge comes to see the error of his ways, thus changing his opinion on Christmas, faith, hope, and charity.
Being Scrooge is no easy task. However, Geoff White, who is no stranger to the stage, makes it look easy! His gruff voice and exterior lend to the character both early on, and later when Scrooge does a complete 180 to become a jolly philanthropist. Long before he morphs into kindness, he has us laughing with his sarcasm.
Enter Mark Carter as Jacob Marley, the late business partner to Scrooge. Carter brings Marley to life, while resembling a zombie who’s come to physically and verbally rattle Scrooge rather than just eat his brain. He warns three spirits will visit Scrooge that night. Later, these specters take Scrooge on a journey through his past, present, and future in the hopes of transforming his miserly bitterness through true Christmas spirit. Carter has us laughing at times with his deliberately over-dramatic delivery, despite his skillful portrayal of an unnerving and decaying chain-clad corpse.
“When you work with people you adore, it truly does not feel like work,” says director England. “Our cast of 42 are hard-working, talented, and down-right amazing; I love them all. Everyone is a member of this community, and, in this show, we have entire families on stage together. Moms, dads, grandparents, sisters, brothers, husbands and wives, including my son Skyler and my amazing husband Scott, are part of this year’s production. This is the reason I love community theater and have been in it for over 30 years.” The only infectious thing about Skyler, who adorably portrayed the sickly Tiny Tim the night I attended, was his smile.
England goes on to give kudos to her right-hand person. “It takes a large crew of dedicated volunteers to bring it all to life. I must thank my co-director and best bud, Jeanne Smith. She can literally do it all from costumes, tech, directing, and everything in-between. That’s why I would always want her by my side.” She also credits lighting designer Doug Greene, and his daughter Sayris. They always create gorgeous lighting that brings beauty and emotion to every scene.”
The first 45 minutes of the 90-minute production, performed with a 15-minute intermission, are slow-paced to set the tone. Actors stroll among the audience as they make their way to the stage. The open floor plan serves as a sidebar of half-rooms so we are enclosed with them in a reading room as well as Bob Cratchit’s dining room. This creative use of space in the eye-appealing set design by England, with much help from Alex Aponte, greatly adds to the production value.
The message of A Christmas Carol, presented by ACT through December 17, is to remind us of the true spirit of Christmas, a season of giving and being with those we care about. As England says, “The simple message written in this timeless classic has stood the test of time: We should all be kind to one another.”
For more information, call (508) 226-8100, visit their Facebook page @ Attleboro Community Theatre, or go to www.attleborocommunitytheatre.net.